Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20 – “Only one”

Zakary’s baptism was truly a special occasion.  He entered the water as confident as an Olympic swimmer and answered his Dad’s questions affirming his faith just as confidently.  And looking on with pride were his brothers (baby sister was in the nursery, and I have to say, four-year-old Luke did a fabulous job in Big Church), us, Christi’s parents and brother and sister-in-law and their kiddos, the Winkles (his “other” set of grandparents), another Winkle or two (Corbin and Rachel, the newlyweds), and a host of his Waco church family. 

After church we retired to the house where Christi had arranged for a feast of Mexican food from their favorite local restaurant.  Zak’s request for his baptism celebration meal was a simple one: tacos.  Well, tacos abounded.  Soft tacos.  Hard tacos.  Beans, rice, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, queso, and even three or four bags of chips for nachos.  Quite the “simple” feast. 

After the food settled, Grandfathers BobBob and DadDad presented Zak with the blessings we write for him.  Then Josh presented him with a pocket watch to be engraved with Jeremiah 29:11, so he would always have an heirloom to remember his special day by.

Before long, Christi’s family all had to leave for home.  And Josh and Christi had meetings.  And Zak and Caleb had drama rehearsal for an upcoming program at church.  So Chris and I had the enviable task of hanging out at the house with Luke and AnnaGrace.  We managed to suffer through it.  Actually, it was great fun.  Luke regaled us with displays of his basketball prowess.  AnnaGrace, not to be overshadowed, bullied her way onto the court (read here, living room floor) and performed some “ball” feats of her own.  Quite the burgeoning athletes there.

We found out that Zak had an interesting experience at drama rehearsal.  The entire stage area is being used for the production.  Apparently some doors to the baptistery area had been left ajar, so the director asked Christi to take care of it.  However, when she reached the room, she couldn’t locate the light switch.  She could, however, see Zak on stage, so she got his attention and asked for his assistance.  He joined her, confident he could take care of the situation since he had just seen his Dad do it that morning.  Sure enough he found the light switch and leaned forward over the baptistery to deal with the doors.  And then … he slipped.  Now if not for his cat-like reflexes you can imagine what could have happened.  He managed to get hold of the side wall, however, and walked away from the potentially embarrassing situation with just … well, shall we say … some clean shoes and socks.  OK, Zak, here’s the thing.  You only need one baptism.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’”

Father, thank you for Zak and his confidence in his decision to follow you.  Amen.

Monday, February 19, 2018

February 19 – “Mommy’s home”

What a Saturday.  Pretty full day.  Caleb had a basketball double header.  During one of the games his other set of grandparents showed up from Crosby, followed within a few minutes by his Mom and Dad.  AnnaGrace’s face when she saw her Mommy was priceless.  Sheer joy.  Mommy’s home.

After the second game we all went over to Jason’s Deli for lunch.  It’s one of their favorite hang out spots.  Food was pretty good.  Typical deli sandwich, but I had some Irish Potato Soup that was amazing.  Know what I’ll order next time for sure.  After enjoying an ice cream cone and/or a root beer float (made from the free ice cream machine and the free refills root beer dispenser – told you it was worth the trip), we headed back to the gym for Zak’s basketball game.  It was a close, hard-fought affair, with the lead exchanging hands numerous times.  Zak’s team ended up losing, but only after their two ball handlers had four fouls apiece and were physically exhausted.  Nice games, Zak and Caleb.

The evening hours proved a bit more relaxing.  After a fine supper of spaghetti, Josh figured out how to us the new YouTube TV.  They don’t have cable, but this new invention allowed us to watch some of the Olympics and a lot of college basketball.  Great way to spend an evening, wouldn’t you say?  Oh, we did do a little switching around of rooms for the night with the addition of Christi’s mom and dad.  Hey, we gotta get ready for living on the road for the next week, right?  Well, not on the road, literally.  That would be camping.  That’s not happening …

Psalms 34:1 says, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

Father, thank you for extended families and grandchildren rallying points.  Oh, and for Mommy getting home.  Nothing quite as special as that.  Amen.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February 18 – “A Stinky Birthday”

It has come to my attention that the newest member of our entourage has not of yet been formally introduced to the blog world.  So sorry about that oversite.  Her name is of course derived from her place of origin, so allow me to introduce you to Mammy the Sloth, now companion to Nonay. 

We had a little family birthday party for Josh at breakfast on Friday.  His boys gave him a new game called Stinky Pig.  It’s one of those pass-around hot potato-type games.  The pig plays music while you pass it around the circle.  If the music stops and the creature passes gas while you hold it, you lose.  Great fun.  Almost as impressive as the game their third set of grandparents gave them.  That one is called Gas Out starring Guster the Gas Cloud.  Same idea.  However, a cloud is not exactly what Guster calls to mind when you look at him.  Let’s just say his image fits the game concept.

Josh and Christi left for their night away around 9 or 10.  All the boys have school on Fridays, so we had AnnaGrace all by herself.  Very difficult time for all three of us … Not.  It was great fun. 

That afternoon we managed to find the boys’ school sites with a little help from our good friend Google Siri.  So far she and Chris are still on speaking terms.  We’ll see how that relationship pans out in coming days on the road.  The late afternoon and early evening was spent in watching a movie and eating pizza.  AnnaGrace went down to sleep at a reasonable hour, followed by Zak who disappeared into his room.  Luke was determined to have a sleepover in the living room, so he and Chris and Caleb ended up there, on the floor.  I took a page from Zak’s handbook and snuck into our bedroom.  All was well until early, early morning (like 2:30 early) when AnnaGrace stirred.  Chris was johnny-on-the-spot though, and had her in arms before anyone else woke up.  A problem did arise about an hour later, though.  Chris had to go to the bathroom, and AnnaGrace was not so happy about that decision.  I heard the ensuing tumult and staggered into her bedroom, but by the time I arrived Chris was back, and the two of them were motoring back and forth in the rocking chair.  I made my way back to the bed after a quick check on the sleepover gang.  It was a shorter night than usual, but somehow fresh donuts in the morning make anything seem just a little more palatable.  Kind of like Sunday mornings at Seaside …

Psalms 33:20-22 says, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

Father, thank you for the birthday fun.  And thanks for Chris’ Mommy instincts taking care of AnnaGrace in the middle of the night.  Amen.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

February 17 – “Named”

We finally pulled away for our Waco-cation about 8 a.m. on Thursday.  After we got the car packed and both of us settled in for the drive, I happened to glance into the back seat.  What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a sneaky stowaway returning my gaze with a piercing stare and a sloth-ish grin.  Yes, that sloth of no name decided to plop himself into the car, and he wasn’t budging.  Hey, there’s an idea.  I think until I get some more suggestions, I’ll call him Nonay.  Sounds sloth-y and foreign, but actually it’s just short for No Name.  Done.  He was pretty active, for a sloth.  At Bucees he wished a college ladies softball team good luck on their season.  They will be hard to beat now.

When we arrived in Waco we went straight to the Mammoth Monument National Park.  Our purpose was to purchase our National Park stamp book and get our very first stamp.  I don’t mean stamps like to mail something.  At National Park sites you can get them to stamp one of those things that looks like an old cancellation mark onto a piece of paper or into a very nice book that they sell.  Hence our purchase.  We expect to be able to garner a few more of those stamps before our journey ends.

Now our park ranger guide did a fine job of explaining fossilized mammoth things (Although he was no Ed Dawson, of course).  The highlight of the trip, however, came in the gift shop.  Apparently one of the creatures that existed at the same time as the mammoths was a gigantic … sloth.  And over in a corner, tucked away all by herself, the only one of her kind still in existence, was none other than a female version of old Nonay.  There was never a doubt in my mind that would pay her bond and free her from the rigors of captivity in a National Park.  I mean, without someone like Ed and Lauren to care for such a sad little orphan (they are well-known for taking care of refugee chickens, ducks, alligators … you get the picture), how happy could she be?  And when we got her into the car and made all the requisite introductions, Nonay was as slap-happy as a sloth can be.  He sure won’t be lonely for the rest of the trip.  The two have been in each other’s arms ever since (It’s a sloth thing).  I have a feeling they will be in more than one of our upcoming trip photos.

We did connect with Josh and his family in plenty of time to take them all out to the Cotton Patch Café to celebrate Josh’s birthday.  I ordered (with great fear and trembling) the fried shrimp.  Not too bad for central Texas.  And the fried okra was actually crispy.  Chris and Christi split the chicken fried steak.  It was huge.  That may be one I try next time. 

Psalms 33:18 says, “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”

Father, thank you for Park Rangers and café waiters.  Oh, and for female sloths.  Amen.

Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16 – “Chocolates and pea soup”

I’ll begin the chronicles of our February journey tomorrow.  For now, here’s a quick finish on our Ash Wednesday activities.  We only had 19 people at the services, but that was actually pretty common for crazy Seaside attendance patterns.  Last year we had 35.  The year before it was 15.  Now I do have to add that this year we did have some pretty bad fog to contend with.  Pea soup variety.  And everybody who knows me should know that I think pea soup is really nasty. 

I tried to encourage the men of the church to use it as a date night, since it happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day.  One lady literally screamed out something akin to, “Oh, no you’re not.  It’s not a date unless there are roses and chocolate involved.”  Sooooo … part of my preparation for the evening?  I went out and bought a dozen roses and a box of chocolates.   Had them on display and available for consumption and everything.  The lady who made the comment was there, but she informed me they had already done their Valentine date as a lunch.  Well, we had to leave yesterday for our Waco-ation, so guess what became of the flowers and chocolates?  One of the other beauties in my life had just the spot for them.  Cailyn was at church with us, so she took them home.  Now if she can just keep the candy away from her Mommy and Daddy …

Psalms 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

Father, thank you for those folks who braved the pea soup fog to worship you in the middle of the week on a Hallmark holiday.  Amen.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

February 15 – “The sloth”

I just read a complicated treatise on the ins and outs and dangers of attitudes that place the good of yourself above the needs and concerns and feelings of others.  Quite a moving pieces of literature.  In it Snoopy was sitting on the roof of his doghouse, as is his custom.  He is reading over all the Valentines he has received from ever so many female admirers.  Good ol’ Charlie Brown walks up and comments, “I hate someone who gloats over all his Valentines.”  Snoopy smiles, picks up the next one in his stack and muses, “The fifteenth of February is always ‘Gloat Day’.”  So happy Gloat Day, ladies and gentlemen.

Speaking of gloat, I understand that you may be on the edges of your seats waiting for the revelation of what became of our little Valentine’s Day gift exchange here in the Vaughan house.  Chris did a great job of figuring out her visually appealing card.  “Wheel U bee monogrammed-with-a-K heart.”  I know.  It loses something in the translation, but the picture was quite specific.  She also seemed to appreciate the gift.  It was the only thing she has asked for lately … a pair of binoculars.  I know, calm down.  It was over-the-top romantic, but like I said, I make my own Hallmark moments. 

Now as to the gift I received … this beautiful Valentine of mine came up with a truly memorable spectacle this year.  I opened the gift bag to reveal a box of Swiss cake rolls (fabulous chocolate treat, if you have never had one).  But the box was being held by … drum roll here … a stuffed sloth.  That’s right.  Who has a stuffed sloth?  This guy.  I’m just … speechless.

Psalms 33:10-11 says, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

Father, thank you for joy in all of its forms.  I really am partial to this unexpected surprise version.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 14 – “Hallmark-induced holiday syndrome?”

Well I woke up early this morning, even for me.  Five fifteen and I was wide awake.  I tried to doze off again, but it just wasn’t happening.  I’m fairly certain that urge to doze will overwhelm me come about 9:30 or 10:00, but in the meantime, I gave up and got up.  I actually had to get Chris’s Valentine ready anyway.  I already got her something incredibly romantic, of course.  It has been in its hiding place for a week or so now.  I had to retrieve that (No, I can’t say what it is until she has opened it) and then work on the homemade card.  See, I don’t succumb to the Hallmark-induced holiday syndrome of having to buy a card, even though it is nice to have that as an option.  But I enjoy making my own.  Well, at least for Chris.  She doesn’t usually laugh at me for too long.  In fact she sometimes even really likes them.  Not sure about today’s, though.  It’s a visual verse style pictogram thing.  We’ll see when she wakes up.  Yep, part of my gift … let her sleep.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I have to spend the day getting things ready for the Ash Wednesday service at church tonight.  And we have to make a Sam’s run.  And deliver the stuff to church.  And we are thinking about slapping a quick paint job on the bare frame portion of the car.  And pick up some medications at Randall’s.  And go to the bank.  At least somewhere in there I get to burn stuff.  Gotta get those ashes from somewhere, right?

Why the frenzy of activity?  We leave tomorrow for Waco.  Zak is getting baptized on Sunday.  Can’t miss that major milestone.  Rumor has it that we may also try to do another sneak and run mini-vacation.  Details to be announced … on the fly, of course.  Perhaps we’ll head west this time …

Psalms 33:8-9 says, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”

Father, thank you for my beautiful valentine.  Sure do love her.  Amen.